Man is born with an insatiable thirst and a deep curiosity to learn the mind and matter
that surrounds him. The function learning, understanding the explaining continually in
process in all human beings. The moment one comes across phenomena, whether it be in the
social, psychological natural ethical or any other field, which seems to be inaccessible then
unable to be satisfied the intrigue sharpens.
In this dissertation we will make a study of two seemingly irrational phenomena
which prick our curiosity and high ten our desire to know about them. These being, magic
and bungled actions in history.
In the first chapter the problem as to whether the seemingly irrational can be amenable
in rational terms or not poses itself. As this problem is directly related to the concepts of
rationality and explanation, a brief discussion of these two notions will be looked into.
The second chapter in the philosophy of anthropology comprises of a discussion on magic;
a social phenomena, which loomed large in the primitive cultures, butt traces of which are
found even today, in our present day modern world. Can this seemingly irrational act be
explained rationally?’ this will be our topic of concern in the second chapter. Various views
have been adduced by different social anthropologists. We have made a study of Frazers’
theory of magic, functionalism and Beattie’s view that magic is basically symbolic and observe
that none can stand on closer scrutiny. Peterwinch has also been brought into account but
his arguments also cannot stand in the heat of criticism produced against them. It is the logic
of situation that has been able to explain magic satisfactorily.
In the third chapter we will deal with the philosophy of history. The problem selected to
be discussed is of yet another seemingly irrational phenomena. These are bungled actions in
history; actions which do not attain their coveted goals but end e up, in a muddled up
consequence due to the misappraisal of the agent, involved in the problem situation. A few
historical explanation presented by different social scientists have been brought into
consideration, but those could not successfully explained bungled actions in history, due to
their own shortcomings. Bringing into account Watkins’ Imperfect rationality principle in the
context of the logic of situation, we have tried to explain that bungled actions are not
Thus both irrational phenomena; magic, in the field of social anthropology, and bungled
actions in history can be explained in terms of the logic of situation.